Streaming, cinema and TV: the popcorn paradox

Streaming, cinema and TV: the popcorn paradox
The friction between the world of cinema and that of streaming has been going on since well before the advent of Covid and there was a clear sign of it in the disagreements experienced in the various festivals from which Netflix productions were excluded from the red carpet. Now that Warner Bros has announced its willingness to release some productions in the US at the same time, without leaving the exclusive preview within the release chain to the cinema, the time has definitely come to reflect on what is happening.

Godzilla vs Kong and Matrix 4, let's start from here: they will be both in the room and on HBO Max at the same time. Everyone can choose the type of experience they want, in short. Going out or staying at home? The apocalyptics will say that in 2020 the cinema is dead for Covid, the integrates will say that it is dead with Covid. Realists will say that it does not die, but inevitably compresses and will be redefined, mourning the closure of many rooms and celebrating the evolution of many others. It's called "change" and it never comes without leaving deep scars - which time will heal as a romantic memory of the time that was.

What is cinema today?

Thinking that it is all Covid's "fault" is certainly misleading and this is clear: the phenomenon has been going on well before the lockdowns and all that happened in this 2020. As with many other things, however, the pandemic shock has defined a ferocious acceleration of evolutionary processes, putting to the wall the activities in difficulty and concentrating the (scarce) resources on those who have greater distribution capacity. In all of this, cinemas have closed, while streaming services have grown by giving hours of entertainment to people locked in the house. The needle of the balance has suddenly shifted in the same direction in which, very slowly, it had already been shifting for some time.

Now is the time to ask ourselves once and for all, in short: what is cinema ? The question has no obvious answers. The relationship between image and people began with the famous locomotive of the Lumière brothers, with that first "wow effect" that spanned an entire century of history. The advent of the television (first as a collective and then as an individual tool) has gradually defined the concept of "cinema" as a collective viewing experience in which the quality is dictated by the preview, by the dedicated moment, by the wide screen, by the quality audio. Over the years, everything has already happened, up to the collapse of a sacred monster like Blockbuster (which became a common word just a moment before disappearing). Now that many of these elements are moving into the living room, if not on the small screens of our smartphones, we need to start from the starting question: what is cinema today?

This question also has validity much more extensive, further complicating the horizon. Faced with a crisis of this caliber, the economic and social consequences of which have not yet emerged, if not in a minimal part and on compartmentalized supply chains, the very definition of the previous categories is at stake. At this moment, restaurants also have to ask themselves the same question, to understand where the boundary between the delivery experience and the dining experience lies: what will the catering of the future be like? And where is the value of the proximity shop compared to large online distribution?

Identity and popcorn

Redefine the essential values ​​to understand how to redefine one's identity is an essential step for those who they have the ambition to carry on any business in what will be the "new normal". The latter definition, moreover, is probably timid and misleading: we call it "new normal" because we imagine it to derive from the previous one, but we still don't know how it will be. Everything says that within a few months, however, the world will be divided into two parts: there will be a part (companies, people, brands) perched on the resistant inertia of those who try to propose the same recipes, in the same ways, on the basis of the same values ​​of the "before"; there will then be a part (companies, people, brands) who instead have guessed what has actually changed in demand to the point of legitimizing and guiding a change in the offer.

This is why the dichotomies between cinema and streaming, offline and online, restaurant and delivery (and many others) are now a symptom of a past vision. These same definitions will fail because the center of gravity of a society that is rapidly reshaping is shifting. If cinema is to survive it must create new value. And probably also the popcorn supply chain. Have you ever thought about how many less popcorns will sell? The popcorn paradox exists in any sector: every single activity is framed in a dichotomy that is about to disintegrate and every single brand has a product to position in these supply chains, but if you don't understand in advance how to move popcorns. corn from the cinema entrance to the sofa cushions, then the best thing is to escape before popcorn machines are no longer sold.

Source: ZDNet

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